A Sufi Kashkul Made of a Coco De Mer

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Religious Artifacts: Pre 1910: Item # 1203227
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A Kashkul made from a halve shell of a Coco de Mer. This giant double coconut (lodoica maldiva) grows only in the Seychelles (Praslin Island). Often in the past, the coco de mer drifted over the Indian Ocean and came ashore in India. These were highly valued and for centuries carried with it a certain mysticism as no one knew their origin. From there they spread out over Persia, Afghanistan and the Himalayas. This undecorated piece was commonly halved and served as a begging or alms bowls for Hindu Sadhus and Kashkuls for Sufi Dervishes. These carried the food donations on which Sufi dervishes and wandering ascetics relied for sustenance. They symbolized the emptying of egos of the Sufi and other wandering ascetics through the renunciation of worldly goods and aspirations. The earliest examples date to the XIIIth or XIVth Centuries, and their form may have derived from the crescent and boat shaped wine bowls made in pre Islamic Iran. Persia, Afghanistan or Northern India. The Coco de Mer also became a very popular decorative object throughout Europe and Victorian England Excellent condition and patina. Dimensions: Length: 11 ¼ inches Height: 4 ½ inches Width: 6 inches